We are all being herded towards isolation, an assault on reality has begun. Cuba is a backdrop, a moving scene painted across the glass walls of this air-conditioned bubble, as the music blares from tinny speakers, as beer cans suddenly appear out of nowhere, as our well-intentioned on-board entertainer jokes and smiles us to death; the country itself, in silence, wouldn’t apparently be enough of a diversion.
Of course I’m still grinning from ear to ear, lost in thoughts with my face smashed against the window, taking all of it in. I’m all too aware of my current position, the tourist with his camera, the gringo, the outsider — but I can’t help myself.
Every few minutes I want to stop the bus and walk out into the streets. When we make an unscheduled stop in Caibarién I quickly step outside and wander, smiling. I don’t mind the insane heat or the sun… I’m in another land, taking pictures. Time has been suspended.
After this town we’ll pass the toll gate and head for the cayos ; we’ll drive an hour across the sea into gated communities, the hotels of the Island of Pleasure, the compounds. Open bar, white sand…